In a letter sent to university administrators and acting President Marta Meana, UNLV’s Residence Hall Association (RHA) panned a decision to wait more than five days before releasing public information regarding the nature of a possible shooting threat to campus and demanded a formal apology from Meana.
The letter, dated October 16, also makes a number of requests of the university, including that it acknowledge “the emotional harm” caused to students, increase funding for security at on-campus residences and better implement a notification system for potential threats to students.
“Credible or not, this threat of violence threatened the safety, liberty and peace of students of color, students who support Bernie Sanders and resident students,” the letter read. “The Residence Hall Association calls on you to reassess the way UNLV administration supports students with marginalized identities because as it stands, your efforts are inadequate.”
The message in question, found inside the stall of a campus bathroom last week, threatened a shooting targeting African Americans, supporters of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and the UNLV community at large.
After a photo of the shooting threat made the rounds on social media, Meana sent a letter informing the campus of some details Monday, calling safety “paramount” and promising increased police patrols. Still, the campus was open as usual, and the decision to cancel classes or stay home entirely was left to individual professors and students.
In her annual State of the University speech Wednesday, Meana denounced the threat and defended UNLV and universities at large as bastions of free expression.
“It’s definitely disheartening and distressing to receive those threats, or to have symbols of hate occasionally etched in our walls,” Meana said in her address. “But you need to remember that UNLV comprises thousands of people who stand for the opposite of that vitriol. We cannot let the haters define us or control us.”
The university’s RHA, comprised of students, is traditionally in charge of organizing the hundreds of on-campus residents at UNLV.